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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

First day of school activities

August 23, 2010

As teachers, we know the first few days of school are all about getting to know your kids and settling into a routine. It's too early to do any assessments (except informal observation sorts of things), but it's a great time to engage kids in some fun activities that get them talking, reading, and writing. Here are some ideas I've seen recently that caught my attention.

When I was in the classroom, we always did a school tour on the first day. Here are some school tour directions created by a teacher. With my class, each special person or place we visited (the cafeteria, the library, the clinic, the school secretary, the principal) had a small stuffed animal to give to the class (for example we had Sammy the Secretary, Pippy the Principal). These animals became part of our classroom library and served as reading buddies.

Stacey from Two Writing Teachers suggests some small poems in which kids write about something special from their summer. Stacey recommends this activity sheet to help the kids with their observations.

I love the Guess Who cards from I Love That Teaching Idea. I think second or third graders could fill in with simple information about themselves and do a whole class sharing with filled out cards.

Still wondering what books to read? Scholastic offers this list of read alouds for the first day.

Feeling adventurous? This toilet paper game could be lots of fun! If you use that idea, let me know how it goes! (no pun intended)

Whatever you choose, happy back to school!


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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl